Getting an apartment in Sydney

by Mitch on 23/04/2008

Finding your apartment in Sydney (and probably other places) in today’s rental market is a nightmare. People are literally lining up for property viewings, applying by the dozens, and in a lot of instances doing literally whatever it takes to get properties.

I viewed a property on Saturday with two friends, applied on Saturday and had the property secured by Tuesday. The reasons I was able to secure the property so quickly are two fold. And both of the attributes you have complete control over.

The two things that are absolutely vital to a good and quick rental application are a solid rental history and an excellent application. The rental history should already be taken care of if you’re a good tenant, but I will share some tips for an excellent application that were given to me by a 20-year veteran property manager.

  1. Be prepared – download applications from the real estate agents website or go to their premises and retrieve them, and have them filled out well before you even go to the property. Don’t be sitting outside trying to think of referees or rental histories, it’s not going to work.
  2. Be really prepared – have everything ready; your bond, your first month of rent and photo copies of relevant paperwork (drivers license, birth certificate, etc. etc.)
  3. Cover letter – they’re not just for job hunting; write the property manager a letter telling him about yourself and your situation. In our case there were 3 guys applying and we wrote a letter to make it very clear that we weren’t looking for a “party house” and that we are three professional guys.
  4. Introduce yourself – the property manager is potentially showing the house to dozens and dozens of potential tenants – in our case it was apparently over 200 people. Introduce yourself, hand in your application and cover letter while you’re there. This makes you front of mind right from the start.
  5. Follow up – don’t hand in an application and forget about it. Call the property manage and ask how the applications are going, ask if he needs any more information and remind him that you have all the relevant documents and the money ready to go. E-mails are a great follow up too as it prompts a response always
  6. Hedge your bets – you’ve maximised your chances of getting the property, now maximise your chances of getting any property that you’re interested in. You will like more than one property, so apply to more than one property. It’s like cheating; it’s okay if she’s doing it, right?
  7. Be polite – common sense, but I’ve heard of guys getting really upset over the property, this just won’t do anyone any favours.
  8. Have support – make sure all your references are prepared and your housemates (if any) are ready to go. Also, it helps if you’re a little younger your parents are on your side (thanks mum)!

I hope this helps anyone looking for a property and explains perhaps where you’ve been going wrong in your applications. It’s a tough market and you have to treat every application very seriously and maximise your chances of finding that dream apartment.

No comments yet.

  1. 23/04/2008brentoe says:

    We had similar problems, have been searching around the Cronulla/Sutherland area since the beginning of the year. We found that with 3 young (early 20s) guys, most of the time we were up against families. We spent the first few months being slow with applications, and just generally not being organised and never getting close.

    The last weekend we went, though – we had the applications filled out on the day, all photocopies, the cover letter (that another real estate advised us would be a good idea) and of the 4 places we applied for that weekend, we got offered 3.

    I also think it is a seasonal thing, apparently there are a lot more people looking for places (especially closer to the beach) in summer. Either way, we got a place recently, and those tips you listed are the exact list we (eventually) ended up with ourselves.

  2. 23/04/2008Kevin Wilson says:

    I think you left out the “desperation” factor. For example, when I was building my new place, I noticed that the next door property had been on the rental market for 6 months prior to me renting it. There are some property owners who would be desperate in the current interest rate/rental crisis to rent a property to anyone.

    So generally, where in Sydney did you end up renting?

  3. 27/04/2008Mitch says:

    @brentoe – It’s funny, so many of my friends are just having the worst time and I, like yourself, had almost no difficulties at all.

    @Kev – I think your missing the point mate. The particular house you’re talking about sounds like an anomaly to me. The rental market is such that property owners and property agents are having no troubles finding tenants at all. In our case, the property owner had to sort through 68 applications for the three-share, this is about 200+ individual applications. I know people who have been applying for several properties for over a month and just have no luck at all.